Ever since my first race, I have been writing “race reports.” Whether I post them on my blog or simply send them to my coach or mentor, I write down a play-by-play of the race. Contrary to popular belief, writing a race experience is not a “humble brag” or a brag at all. People have been writing down experiences and events since the beginning of time. From a starting point, having an account of your race is a really cool historical point for you. I go back and read race reports and I laugh out loud—not because I am funny (haha)—but because I totally forgot some of the ridiculous thoughts, occurrences, and happenstances that took place during (or before or after) a race.
Aside from light-hearted commentary and scrapbooking, race reports are fundamental tools of growth. Recounting your memories, thoughts, and feelings about a race are of major importance when it comes to getting better as an athlete, correcting inconsistencies or mistakes, and setting the “next goal.”
You don’t need to tell anyone the results of your race. You don’t even have to share your report. But someday you will be glad you have those memories and words to reflect back upon. Even if it’s just for a laugh.
Don’t know how to write down your race report? Start with answering a few simple questions and following a timeline structure, then go from there. You’ll learn a lot about your race, yourself, and the internal dialogue that we are always working to improve.
Race Detail “W’s”
Where, When, Who (Who was with you?) and of course, the Weather
Pre-Race and Race Morning
How was registration, bike check and the like? Did you handle those details well?
Were your jitters at bay? What did you eat that morning? Did it sit well with you?
Did you feel prepared? Mentally were you good during the start? How did you feel during and after the swim? Were your goggles good? Do you need to work on anything particularly in the swim? How was your sighting?
T1 and T2
Did you forget anything? Could you have moved faster? Was there anything funny you saw?
How did you feel? Pacing? Nutrition? Heart rate? Safety concerns? Mechanical status of bike? Any tools you need next time? Equipment? What could have gone better? What do you feel went right?
How did you feel? Pacing? Nutrition? Heart rate? Shoes? Socks? Feet? What could have gone better? What do you feel went right?
Recovery and how you felt after the race (immediately) and in the days after is great intel on how prepared you were for the race, how nutrition went, or what could have been better. Use this information to guide your next training season or block.
In a few sentences, paragraphs or even pages write down your overall experience, lessons, and thoughts from the race. Don’t forget to include a Porta-Potty story or two—those are always hits for the reader and later—for yourself.
Most of all, have a great time recounting your effort and hard work. Even if it wasn’t the “perfect race” (they never really are, by the way), there is always something to learn and enjoy from each experience.